February 11, 2011
There aren't many designers willing to admit to being inspired by old ladies, but Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty went there for Fall. They said they were specifically interested in the way the granny class accumulates things with a seeming disregard for trends or faddishness. "It's an exploration of timelessness," Beatty explained of the collection. If you squinted, you could almost picture a younger, thinner version of your great auntie in the silk apron tied over an all-in-one, or in the long tunic worn over an even longer dress worn over skinny trousers. But there was nothing fusty or old-fashioned about the wallpaper prints (a mini-trend today; see Edun) or the geometric motifs, which were informed by the work of a pair of painters, Peter Doig and Félix Vallotton. It's safe to say that Osterweis and Beatty turned a corner of their own with this collection. They checked the off-kilter quirk that the label has become known for at the door. The new sense of elegance came across not only via a sophisticated, earthy palette with pops of bright color here and there, and the fearless way they mixed prints, but also in the silhouettes. Minis have been replaced by midis or maxis, sleeves were long, and there was often a lot of air between the body and fabric—in fact, it would've been nice to see some of these clothes moving down a runway, rather than in a presentation format. The outerwear deserves a shout-out of its own. Grandma may be proficient with knitting needles, but she could never pull off a multicolor sweater jacket like theirs.